Zooplankton are a diverse group of tiny animals that float freely in the water column and feed on phytoplankton (plant plankton) and other zooplankton. This group includes jellyfish and comb-jellies, small crustaceans like copepods and krill, the larval forms of crabs and oysters, the larval or juvenile forms of some fish, and many other organisms. This Vital Sign tells us about the abundance and distribution of zooplankton populations in Puget Sound. Zooplankton play a critical role in the marine food web as important prey for juvenile salmon and small forage fish.
|VITAL SIGN INDICATOR
|VITAL SIGN INDICATOR
During the Pacific marine heatwave of 2015-2016, zooplankton biomass was anomalously high throughout most regions, which persisted in Puget Sound through 2017, with the most dramatic increases seen in central Puget Sound stations.
Targets have not yet been defined for these indicators. When evaluating trends in the indicators, it is important to note that high biomass of any group would indicate high prey availability for their predators. However, because there is a complex food web in the Salish Sea where sustained predation will decrease biomass, low biomass does not necessarily indicate that the system is in an unhealthier state than when biomass is high.
Winans, A. K., B. Herrmann, and J. E. Keister. 2023. Spatio-temporal variation in zooplankton community composition in the southern Salish Sea: changes during the 2015-2016 Pacific marine heatwave. Progress in Oceanography. Accepted.
Khangaonkar, T., A. Nugraha, S. K. Yun, L. Premathilake, J. E. Keister, and J. Bos. 2021. Propagation of the 2014–2016 northeast Pacific marine heatwave through the Salish Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.787604.
Khangaonkar, T., A. Nugraha, L. Premathilake, J. E. Keister, and A. Borde. 2021. Projections of algae, eelgrass, and zooplankton ecological interactions in the inner Salish Sea – for future climate, and altered oceanic states. Ecol. Modell. 441: 109420. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109420
|Zooplankton Vital Sign indicators development
|Puget Sound Zooplankton Monitoring Program development & management
Puget Sound Zooplankton Monitoring Program/Salish Sea Marine Survival Project funding
Zooplankton field samplers & coordinators